Twenty-six people were killed Friday when a gunman clad in black military gear opened fire inside a Newtown, Conn. elementary school. Although authorities are still investigating events, law enforcement officials said 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza was reported on campus at Sandy Hook Elementary School around 9:40 a.m.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to that community. It's a school and a school district's worst nightmare," said Terry Koehne, San Ramon Valley Unified's community relations coordinator. "It's a reminder of how important it is for us to remain vigilant as adults on campus. That's one of the things we'll be doing today, reminding people of our procedures and how important it is to put student and campus safety first."
Twenty of the dead at Sandy Hook were children, according to CNN. At a news conference Friday afternoon, Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance would say only that there had been "several fatalities." All schools in the Newton were on lockdown Friday as state and local police, as well as The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, assessed the situation.
SRVUSD has several lockdown procedures based on different scenarios -- from a shooter on campus to a "stranger danger" situation -- where students and staff will hide in classrooms with locked doors, drawn shades and lights off until they receive an all-clear signal. Schools do lockdown and other safety drills often throughout the year, Koehne said.
"We're just so fortunate to have such a great partnership with local law enforcement and public safety. They know our campuses and have files on each campus…at their fingertips and we're in constant communication with them," Koehne said. "In a moment's notice we have full support from local law enforcement and all public safety personnel. That's something that we cherish."
San Ramon Valley Unified sent a communication to parents and reassure the community that there are procedures already in place in the event of an attack. In the staff message, SRVUSD officials said there will be an increased police presence on campuses Friday.
"We encourage all staff members to also be visible on campus today and in the coming days, as this can do a lot to help alleviate fears," the statement read. "All indications are that this is an isolated incident, however we want to remain sensitive to our students and parents that may raise questions and concerns about our own processes and plans."
Although school personnel are trained to notice children who may be struggling emotionally and provide them with support, Koehne encouraged parents to talk to their children about such tragedies and how to remain safe.
"It's a reminder, I think, to parents to have conversations with their kids around how to remain aware themselves and how to keep themselves safe," Koehne said.
The district will also have conversations with students and staff members on procedures and how to spot and handle signs that a student feels anxious or fearful as a result of the Connecticut tragedy.
"Anytime a tragedy like this happens it reminds us of how precious life is and how fortunate we are to work with our community's young people," the SRVUSD statement said. "It falls to each of us today to reassure our students and colleagues that we will continue on and stay ever diligent to keeping our schools safe."